Old City Hall lost its balcony on Dec. 19.
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“It became a safety issue,” said City Manager Cleve Morris. “Some pieces fell off it a few months ago and city crews went up to make sure that nothing else was loose and then we scheduled the balcony’s removal.”
While some of the wood from the balcony was too rotted to preserve, enough pieces of it were saved so that renovators could one day match the style and restore the balcony.
The two buildings at 487 and 489 Main Street, nicknamed “Catsup and Mustard,” that make up Old City Hall, have been in the process of being leased, sold, and/or renovated since city staff moved to the new City Hall at Center Street in 2007, but nothing seems to stick.
The two buildings have been treated as one, sharing utilities and a common wall, but the red building is the Confidence Building. built in 1856, which housed Placerville’s volunteer fire company known as Confidence Engine Company No. 1. In 1982, the building was added to the National Register of Historical Buildings.
The “mustard” building was built by “Emigrant” Jane Johnson in 1861 and is also on the inventory of the historical registry list.
Offers to buy the building fell through and the city’s asking price, originally $1 million, dropped to $799,000 and then to $625,000.
In January of 2012, the city had finalized a lease with option to purchase agreement with A.M. Pacific Engineering for $625,000 and the engineering company was partnering with the city to renovate the building. The agreement fell through during the renovation process when the damage to the buildings was found to be more extensive than first appeared.
The 150-plus-year-old structures need many repairs, said Morris, particularly the Confidence Building. “We’ve taken Old City Hall off the market and taken a step back to review what needs to be done first, but if someone wanted to make an offer, we’d be interested.”
Morris added, “Right now we’re trying to clean the buildings up a bit and we have leased the first floor of the ‘Jane’ building to Vindler Real Estate, which will move in on the first of January.”
Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.